MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Georgia Tech and Mississippi State put on an offensive show in combining for more than 1,100 yards in total offense, but it was Tech’s ability to convert turnovers into points and come up with key stops that secured the Yellow Jackets’ 49-34 victory Wednesday night in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas and running back Synjyn Days rushed for three touchdowns each as the Jackets (11-3) scored following a deflected interception in the first quarter and a Bulldog fumble in the third.
Georgia Tech’s defense then secured the victory by forcing the Bulldogs (10-3) to turn the ball over on downs three times, the last in the fourth quarter to squelch any comeback homes.
Days scored on runs of 3, 69, and 4 yards on his way to a game-high 171 yards rushing. Thomas scored on runs of 13, 32 and 15 yards in rushing for 121 yards. Thomas also threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darren Waller in throwing for 125 yards on 7-for-12 passing.
Though he struggled at times, Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott also wound up with impressive numbers, completing 33 of 51 passes for 453 yards and two touchdowns in becoming the first Bulldog quarterback to go over 3,000 yards passing for the season (3,449).
Mississippi State ended the night with 605 yards in total offense to Tech’s 577, making the combined total of 1,182 a record for the Orange Bowl. The former high two-team total was 1,032 set by West Virginia and Clemson in the 2012 game.
The first half ended in spectacular fashion with Prescott lofting a Hail Mary pass from Tech’s 42-yard line into the end zone with wide receiver Fred Ross emerging from a bevy of potential receivers and defenders with the ball with triple zeros on the clock.
The play came just 29 seconds after Tech’s Thomas had scored on a 13-yard run to put his team up 21-13, seemingly regaining momentum for the Jackets, who had their early 14-0 lead cut to one point in the second quarter.
But instead of conceding the eight-point deficit, the Bulldogs used their timeouts and two pass completions and one run to set up the touchdown play, which started with five seconds on the game clock.
NOTES: Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott went over the 3,000-yard mark passing for the season with his first attempt of the game, a five-yard completion to WR Jameon Lewis. Prescott came into the game with a school-record 2,996 yards passing in 12 games. … Georgia Tech QB Justin Thomas topped the 1,000-yard mark rushing on his 13-yard touchdown run with 29 seconds left in the second quarter giving him 1,012 yards on the ground. He came into the game with 965 yards rushing. … CB Chris Milton’s interception off a deflected pass to set up the Jackets’ first touchdown marked the 20th time in 28 opportunities the Jackets have converted a takeaway into a touchdown.